Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Always Surrounded

Photo by Leo
Ok. I don't get it. How's come I don't feel free any more? Seems like every turn I make is trailed. Damn hounds of hell on me. The corner I turn is never without a follower, a tail. Why is that?
How come things we took for granted for so long, like the 4th amendment, get lost? Guys fight for and cling like a babe to the breast for the 2nd amendment like it's the only one, except for that 5th one.
But what about the 4th?
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (U.S. Constitution, Amendment #4.
Ok folks. here's the whole thing in a nut. I just don't feel secure any more. No, I don't feel threatened. On the contrary, I feel no threat. I guess maybe that's the thing. Life seems sterile, neutral, pointless. These days, there is no real rumble, no struggle.
Damn. Not that I want to struggle or rumble. It's just...
Hell, I feel like we're all really fat, dumb, and happy. Don't misconstrue here. Happy is good. Fat may be inevitable. Dumb just might be the truth. It's just, like, all at once and complacency is the order of the day.
I don't want to speak for you, but the stuff seems all to evident to me. We get searched and subliminally seized on a regular basis. Phone records get pulled without warrant. Citizens get shook down because their skin is brown. Nobody wants to question reasonable cause because, well, that'd be un-patriotic. We are, after all, in a sort of war. But, jeeze, we are entitled to that right to feel secure and search and seizure should only be in exterme cases, right?
I'm just blowing steam and no one need respond. I know there's plenty who will say everything is ok and that the freedom lost stuff is for the miscreants to worry over. It's just plain frustrating though, this uncomfortable sense of security at the price of freedom. I can't help but worry. The anxiety overwhelms sometimes.
"Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come
and take you away."
-Stephen Stills, 1966

Comments:
Yeah man. You're not alone with this.
apathy nation
 
"We can change the world -
Rearrange the world

It's dying - if you believe in justice
It's dying - and if you believe in freedom
It's dying - let a man live his own life
It's dying - rules and regulations, who needs them

Open up the door
We can change the world."

-Graham Nash
 
Try Saudi Arabia or Iran or Northern Sudan or North Korea. Try passing out some Bibles there. Go ahead. Just try it. Thank God the Free World has courageously pushed a salient into that bleak corner of the world (Iraq/Afghanistan), and so perhaps now a few souls are receiving the alternative message of the Gospel instead of having Islam or Marxism constantly crammed down their throats. At least they are presented with choices.

It reminds me of the time when Pope John Paul II visited India -- the media reported he was "surrounded by a ring of steel" in security forces -- and he boldly spoke against the extremists there (mainly Hindus) who would deny freedom of religion to the population.

Meanwhile, people are crawling and willing to die just to get to America. We've got virtually the best there is in this world, and we have the gall to complain? If we earn $10,000 a year, we're among the top 1 percent of wage earners in the world, and we're bellyaching?

Nobody's following you, Mr. Paranoid. Stephen Stills probably wrote that line after smoking a joint. And, nobody's listening to your phone calls. You say: "Phone records get pulled without warrant." Nope. That is a gross distortion of the actual Bush Administration tactic against terrorist communication patterns between our soil and abroad. Sadly, the tactic's cover is blown, so the terrorists will learn from that.

Oh, and, the last time I crossed back to America from Mexico, I was asked for my identification. Maybe it's because my Ohio skin is turning brown in this desert, hmmmm?
 
Theo, my friend, you have engaged in a non sequitur of sorts. I was not speaking of the political climate in other parts of the world. I was talking about here and the prevalent feeling of insecurity that pervades our society. Not Bush, not Marxists. Us. We, who get those calls and e-mails from people that seem to know all our business. I mean, how can a mortgage company I’ve never done business with know all my vital stats down to my bloody social security number? How can a credit card company I’ve never dealt with know the balances and account numbers on other lines of credit I have or had? It ain’t all in the phone book and it certainly isn’t all publicly accessible. Or, is it? The phone records thing is just another example of possible invasions of privacy and a breakdown of 4th amendment rights.

If it isn’t publically accessible, someone is messing with my privacy. If it is accessible, then something is damn wrong.

Since the political card has been played, why is it that many conservative types hold religiously to the notion of government non-intervention into the private lives of American citizens and yet have no problem with stuff like the phone record stuff or the investigating of private citizens for sometimes very spurious reasons? Don’t regulate my business dealings but it’s OK to shadow my every move in the name of National Security? Damn, buddy. That sorta smacks of something gone awry.

I have a book on CD by Pat Buchannan called, “Where the Right Went Wrong” and he examines some of the seeming ironies of modern conservatism. Even thpough I have disagreed with his thoughts many times, Pat’s always been a straight shooter. It’s really a good listen.
 
Well, dear Leo, you DID raise the political card with the comment about telephone records supposedly being "pulled without warrant." Naturally, I had to refute that.

Does the government "shadow my every move" ? No. I don't think so. That is a real leap of imagination. The government cannot even keep track of who is coming and going across the border.

The mortgage thing is probably explainable. My ex-wife is a mortgage loan originator, and she told me once how one of our mortgages ended up in the hands of a different company than the one we started out with. It's all legal, and nobody is being ripped off.

As far as "somebody is messing with my privacy" ... well, think about that for a minute ... you're posting stuff on blogs all the time. Technology allows people to send us spam and junk faxes and junk snail mail has been around for a long time.

Do you think you could walk down the streets of Nogales, Sonora, and you could be invisible and expect nobody to approach the gringo-stranger?

Of course not.

Thus, you should not be so naive as to think people with more sophisticated methods cannot try to sell you something on this side of the border.

If there is some inappropriate behavior going on with a strange mortgage company, or whomever, then that seems to be a personal problem, and I would be either be getting on the phone to that company and demanding an explanation, or I would be calling the Attorney General's office.

Granted--identity theft is a serious concern nowaways, but it is a manageable situation if you keep a tight rein on your credit report and take prudent steps to protect your good name.

As for my "non sequitur" ... that was simply a silhouette drawn against the gloomy picture that you painted of "here."

"Here" is probably the most secure place on Earth. That's why people are willing to die to get here. Here is the golden standard. Here is the shining city on the hill. Here is not perfect, as America-bashers will quickly point out, but here is still the best you will find.

No other place on Earth -- including the other wealthy nations in the Free World -- have nearly the attraction that America does to a would-be emigrant. We are the most envied. It is good for a person to stop and ponder on that from time to time.

Finally, Pat Buchanan is appealing to a strange mixture of unionists and theocratists. I don't think he could weld those voters together for a winning ticket, but I could be wrong. The thing is, if he won, he would sink us deep into isolationism and he would artificially raise wages, and the lion of foreign competition would never really go away from our door. Furthermore, he seems a bit jingoistic on the piety and flag-waving, and I am afraid that this is just not practical. Even the Founding Fathers took pains to keep the church and state separate. Pat has managed a press office, but he has no real leadership experience. Governing a state or holding a U.S. Senate seat is vastly greater experience.

It's hard to pigeon-hole "conservatives" or "liberals" ... the political world contains so many nuances and shades.

For example, the "liberal" senator that everybody "conservative" loves to hate -- Edward Kennedy -- was a co-sponsor of the sea-changing No Child Left Behind Act. He has praised Laura Bush for being cool on September 11. And regarding immigration policy reform, he said of George W. Bush: "I think this president gets it."

There are "liberal" Democrats that I might otherwise loathe if I had not heard them take a stand against abortion, or held firm on some other issue that I cherish.

I remember living in Southern Indiana, which traditionally was solid Democrat. A woman who worked in the newspaper office there once gave me a steely-eyed look and told me point-blank: "I'm a Democrat, but I like Ronald Reagan, and I voted for him."
 
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